You are here

Lesson 1 What Is Pinyin?

preview
Have you ever wondered how people type Chinese characters? The answer lies in the wonderfully useful phonetic system used to spell out Chinese words called 'pinyin'. In this lesson, get an introduction to pinyin and how you'll use it to start learning Chinese.
Have you ever wondered how people type Chinese characters? The answer lies in the wonderfully useful phonetic system used to spell out Chinese words called 'pinyin'. In this lesson, get an introduction to pinyin and how you'll use it to start learning Chinese.

Comments (61)

This is my first week on yoyo chinese, Im a little confused, because Im not sure if I stared correctly, because I don't know if I need to star on courses or study schedule . thanks
albazu65 4 months 2 days ago
Hi, welcome! :) The schedule will combine lessons from multiple courses, and if you want more of a structured plan, please go with the beginner study guide! If not, please check out our courses and study more at your own pace. :)
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 4 months 14 hours ago
Like the updated videos, great job!
pasharain 4 months 3 weeks ago
谢谢 (xiè xie) thank you! We're glad you are enjoying the update! :)
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 4 months 2 weeks ago
Deleted
rakesh babu 7 months 3 weeks ago
Madam, Hello - Your teaching is so lucid & very enthusiastic & very interesting. Thank you
rakesh babu 7 months 3 weeks ago
Thank you for your support! :)
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 7 months 3 weeks ago
I started watching a few of your videos and I really think your teaching approach for English speakers works very well. I made the mistake of not learning the tones very well my first 3 months of learning Chinese and really studying all the pinyin sounds. This made it really hard for me to improve my speaking in Chinese as I learned to speak many words incorrectly. Now that I will be watching your videos and using your course materials, I should become more confident speaking in Chinese.
music4fun2 7 months 3 weeks ago
Thanks for your kind words, and you definitely will! 加油 (jiā yóu) keep going!
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 7 months 3 weeks ago
Hi, First of all, congratulation for your Chinese courses which is really a fun and engaging way to learn Mandarin Chinese. You say that there are 409 Chinese sounds (not considering tones) but there are only 403 combinations in your pinyin chart. I was wondering what are the 6 missing sounds. Best, Jerome
jerome55 8 months 2 weeks ago
"There seems to be no prospect that Chinese, with its abundance of homophones and its tonal elements among other complexities, can ever be transferred successfully to an alphabetic writing system." page eight, China's Imperial Past by Charles O. Hucker (1975). He missed that one but I think the book is, otherwise, pretty good.
Strain 9 months 1 week ago
Actually, he didn't miss it. The introduction of Hanyu Pinyin predates that writing, and it still is mainly used for teaching pronunciation, and for non-native speakers to be able to pronounce street names, city names, etc. It's never used for normal communication, as far as I know.
Corey 9 months 6 days ago
I am glad to hear that he was right. It's one of my favorite China books.
Strain 9 months 6 days ago
Hi Yangyang, I have the same problem with videos. I really want to be able to download them because I have a little one and it takes 45min just to buffer a 5-6min video. My time is very limited as a new and have to learn Chinese because it is not easy living in a place where you cannot communicate. Please help with making my life easier. Thanks!
Fmailu 9 months 1 week ago
我爱你。
Dave Triplett 1 year 4 months ago
Can we just download the entire thing to our computer so we don't have to be on wifi or cellular? Put it all on a hard drive?
robert.woodruff 1 year 6 months ago
You may download all the audio files and study notes for each lessons, however, the lesson videos are not available for download. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 6 months ago
Hello Yangyang, I just upgraded to premium the other day. I'd like to be able to download the videos to store on my Mac. It's a pain having to be online constantly. James
jamesrhodes 1 year 3 months ago
Thanks for your input, James! And, rest assured, we're working on it. :)
Micah at Yoyo Chinese 1 year 3 months ago
No you're not ;O, you're a business with a very good product that wants to make money and have your time and effort rewarded, downloading removes the need to stream and thus >1 month subscriptions. As a 6 month subscriber I back you on this. Keep up the good work
Eliot Banks 7 months 3 weeks ago
Thanks! Love your course!
jamesrhodes 1 year 3 months ago
How can one type pin yin on computer? I tried adding pin yin keyboard on Mac, but it will convert to Chinese characters. I'd like to be able to write down notes in pin yin with tones in Latin characters (as appear on this site)
Arash Emamy1 1 year 6 months ago
You may use this site to type pinyin: http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/webime2_pinyin.php.
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 6 months ago
I found a Windows IME developed at MIT (and it is free) that lets you type pinyin in any document. You simply write the letters and place the tone number after it (e.g. ni3), and boom -- pinyin (nǐ ) If you are interested, the URL is: http://pinyintones.codeplex.com/ After installing, simply add this as a language.
rwthomas33 1 year 6 months ago
Thank you so much for sharing this useful tool, rwthomas33. :)
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 6 months ago
I'm Korean. I'd studied Chinese for 3years when I went to highschool. But I've stopped learning and practicing it. After seeing this website, I made my mind to study it again. Thank you for the great leacture and help me get fluent in Chinese through your lessons.
Kyeong Hwan Kim 1 year 9 months ago edited
Hi Kyeong Hwan Kim. Thank you so much for using Yoyo Chinese to improve your Chinese. Happy studies. :)
Yoyo Chinese 1 year 9 months ago edited
I've been learning Chinese for the past 3 months but i don't feel comfortable with the amount I'm retaining in my head so i decided to sign up for the six month subscription and I hope this takes me far.
Joshua Pesina 2 years 2 weeks ago
Thank you for continuing your study with us, Joshua. Good luck with your Chinese studies. Feel free to let us know if there's any question.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 2 weeks ago
Comment: This is the very best course, the best value, and the best teacher in all of on-line courses teaching the Chinese language to English speakers that I have found, and I have been looking a lot. Question: Why is the pinyin "yán" pronounced as "yen" and not "yahn"?
008klm 2 years 1 month ago
Thank you so much for your nice words. Regarding to your question, you may check out our pinyin lesson 6 for the pronunciation of "ian". You may also check out our Video-based Pinyin Chart. Hope that answers your questions. Feel free to let us know if you have any further question.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 1 month ago
TY so very much!!! I do think that I understand why: the "i" is swapped with a "y" when "ian" is written to stand alone. Sorry I had forgotten that you had already tried to teach me this in lesson 6. Now I hope you will please confirm for me that whenever I see "ya", "yan", "yang", and "yao" standing alone they will always intend the use of the finals "ia", "ian", "iang", and "iao" and never the finals "a", "an", "ang", and "ao"?
008klm 2 years 1 month ago
That's right. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 1 month ago
晚上好! Great videos! I am brand new to learning Chinese and find them very useful. I understand the idea of pinyin but wanted to know the reason for the difference in pronunciation of different initials and finals. Specifically why is "li" pronounced differently from "si"? Thanks!
Jgonz 2 years 3 months ago
Hi Jgonz, thank you for studying Chinese with Yoyo Chinese. That's a great question. "si" is one of the special seven pinyin "zi, ci, si, zhi, chi, shi, ri", that is pronounced differently to the other pinyin with different initials + i. You may refer to our google hangout lesson 2 to learn how to correctly pronounce these special sevens.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 3 months ago
This is FANTASTIC! I just started studying Chinese and I found this course on You-Tube... You make the tones easy because you directly connect them to an English word. Thank you for doing what you are doing, You make studying Chinese fun too :) I became a full member immediately.
Mike Lomeli 2 years 4 months ago
Not only useful for English speakers but also Chinese around the globe. thank you!
meimeicha 2 years 4 months ago
Love it! Yangyang is so adorable she makes it fun to learn such a challenging language;)
Mailan 2 years 5 months ago
Thank you for the nice words. Glad that you had fun learning. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 5 months ago
really it is a very useful for learning Chinese language.
rashidmangi 2 years 7 months ago
Today I received the free Yoyo Chinese Pinyin Chart complete with audio demonstrations and video explanations for English speakers by email. I am confident that this chart and this pinyin course are all I need to master pinyin. Thank you and well done!
Rombard 2 years 8 months ago
Thank you so much for the support, Rombard. Good luck with your Chinese studies. :)
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 8 months ago
For the pronunciation of the h in he, is the back of the tongue curled towards the roof of the mouth or away from?
Valerie 2 years 10 months ago
Hi Valerie, you don't have to curled your tongue at all, it should be flat.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 10 months ago
Can you show me how to pronounce he?
ボウ セス 3 years 3 weeks ago
e sounds like "uh" in sERve. So he sounds like "huh". Hope that helps. We have a course in Chinese pinyin. Please check them out for more pronunciation guides.
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 3 weeks ago
ni hoa, miss yang yang. me a new student of yours, i love the way you teach in such a easy way, thanks for everything. xie xie.
jigme 3 years 2 months ago
for what is to bookmark a lesson
gevorg.gasparyan.9 3 years 4 months ago
If you bookmark a lesson, it will appear on your bookmark section of the homepage. It will be easier for you to locate the bookmarked lessons if you want to reference to them in future.
Yoyo Chinese 3 years 4 months ago
Thank you! I was worried about how to begin learning Chinese and I found your lesson. It's really helpful. I'm Vietnamese and I'm dating with a Chinese man. He tells me learning Chinese every day.
phuonganh.lethi.9 3 years 6 months ago
Glad that you found our lessons helpful. Have fun studying. :)
Yoyo Chinese Development 3 years 6 months ago
thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!I decided to join for full course !
andrey.dmitriev.9081 3 years 7 months ago
Thank you so much for your support, Andrey. :)
Yoyo Chinese Development 3 years 7 months ago
我是学生但从来都不懂拼音。你可以帮我吗?
金山 3 years 10 months ago
Yes, we have a complete course in Pinyin lessons that would definitely be helpful to you.
Yoyo Chinese Development 3 years 10 months ago
Thank yangyang!
1991 3 years 10 months ago
how to pronunciation cake i chinese and also botol...
Ming Xin 3 years 11 months ago
Cake is dàn gāo 蛋糕. Not too sure what do you mean by botol. Is that a typo?
Yoyo Chinese Development 3 years 11 months ago
I love this video. Thank you.
Giang 4 years 2 months ago
I'm cambodian. I really love this awesome videos. I will study hard on this thank teacher.
sovat 4 years 2 months ago
We are glad to hear that. Keep up the good works Sovat!
Yoyo Chinese Development 4 years 2 months ago
Instant Access to all
Free Yoyo Chinese Content